More and more of our public lands are blackened by catastrophic wildfires every year. And shockingly after the flames are out, most of these burned watersheds see little or no effort to repair the damage. Experts tell us that things will only get worse unless we act to reduce the threat of these mega fires by working to restore the health of the dense, overgrown forests by thinning, removing excessive fuel loads, replanting after catastrophic fire and wisely using good fire to restore the forests.
When we manage our forests sustainably we ensure that we will enjoy an everlasting supply of wood products, clean drinking water, habitat for a multitude of wildlife species, ample recreation opportunities and the capture and storage of carbon. Sustainably managed forests are resilient forests, able to withstand the unexpected forces of nature.
The balanced approach of sustained yield–never harvesting more than we grow—is vital to the social and economic fabric of rural America. Federal forests managed sustainably could be a key contributor to this stability. For instance, Federal forests in Oregon grow 4 Billion Board Feet each and every year. Over the last 25 years less than of 10% of the growth has been harvested annually while 20% is killed by wildfire, insects and disease. Small wonder why we see massive fires on our Federal lands.
For communities to thrive we believe restoration and rehabilitation of today’s Federal forests is critical. As repeated catastrophic fires wipe out these forests, wildlife habitat and watersheds are threatened. Much discussion revolves around the conservation of existing resources and fire management, rightfully so. But, there is little action taken to rehabilitate and restore the balance needed in the forest to ensure we have forests in the future and to aide in the growth and vitality of healthy communities.
Federal dollars spent fight wildfire in last 5 years
102,000 square miles
Area burned in last 10 years, equal to South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island & Washington, D. C. combined.
Percentage of USFS total annual budget spent fighting forest fires